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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vacation Hike Planning 101

            One of my geekiest hobbies is “map staring,” which is combined with Youtube daydreaming, guidebook reading, and old travel / hiking magazine hording to inspire me to do all kinds of cool stuff in the future. You could say that I’m a regular Rocky Dennis. At one point in a tribute to him, I even had a map hanging on the wall, where I put pushpins of all of the places that I wanted to go and did go. I even had them color-coded, if that tells you how big of a geek I am with this stuff (something I developed in my later Air Force days when a former girlfriend and I traveled much of England, though I never even looked up where the base I was being stationed at was previous to arriving).
Generally, I avoid these hobbies when I'm not traveling, in the same way I avoid my Scott E. Brown and Michael Kelsey books, as they do more to promote the ideas that A) I live in the wrong part of the state / country / world, B) I don’t make enough money to travel as much as I want to, and C) I don’t have enough time to travel like I should.
            These are not necessarily positive things, so I am contemplating how to rectify them.
One way to do this is to get people to buy the books that I’ve already written and to write more. Some of this is in the works already, so yeah, I’m covering those grounds to create my Parkinson’s story to go with my ghost / archaeology / save the world / action stories. Another way is to win the lottery, but I get the idea that math is against me on that one, so instead, I have decided to pimp myself out to obtain corporate sponsorship and products. For instance, I would proudly exclaim my love of Black Diamond trekking poles, Kahtoola Microspikes, Camelbak backpacks and reservoirs, Keen boots, Cabelas Polar Fleece long underwear, and Berks ring bologna in return for more products or cash. I will gladly list product information and even wear patches of each brand. The only line I won’t cross is getting a tattoo on my body for a company, though if Southwest Airlines gave me free flights for life, I’ll get their logo tattooed to my chest. I would do the same thing for a supped-up green Jeep Wrangler XL. I’ve never driven one before, but damn, I could tell you that I’d like it. All the same, I have driven a Toyota Yaris, and I would emphatically state how nice that my Macho Dude has been to me.

            Thus, any information you can give me on being a professional product shill, the kind that makes Oprah’s favorite things and Wayne’s World seem tame in comparison, I would gladly appreciate it.
Timeliness is very important in this since last night my wife and I decided to fork over cash for the first of the vacations this year, which will see us go to see my Air Force friends in Jacksonville, Florida. As a result, I am in I can’t wait mode for something else besides just the Christmas present 90 minute massage I have scheduled for Friday night. We're already thinking swamp boat tour and going up to Waycross, Georgia, to see where my grandparents got married as well as to St. Simon Island. 
            Thus, it would seem reasonable to state that I now have permission to break out the atlas and road map, as well as the greenlight to look on Youtube to see the actual images of what places look like.
            Additionally, since we booked our hotel in Virginia Beach for the end of the school year, I can look at that, but really, this is low priority for planning considering what else we want to do. After all, a beach is a beach is a beach. The only real differences are public, private, nature, polluted, or nude, and no, I won’t be doing nude or polluted, be it with trash or jelly fish.
            People may not be able to distinguish me from the jelly fish.
The first big summer shindig is that in June, we also will be doing one getaway weekend to Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade because, why not? They describe themselves as a combination of “ancient mythology and honky-tonk rituals of the seaside,” so yeah, I’m down for that on June 17th. Gotta love Long Island, birthplace of Billy Joel and former stomping ground for Walt Whitman.
More importantly than even a crazy parade like that, though, is that we started figuring out the “real deal” 2-week summer vacation in August to fly into Denver to do Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota and Colorado. Thus, I’ve been watching videos of Nine Mile Canyon in Utah to brush up on my petroglyph dreams, which go with the already stabilized dreams of going to the Great Gallery in the Horseshoe Canyon extension of Canyonlands National Park. On a positive note, there are 4-wheel drive excursions for this, so I don’t have to worry about mega drives into the canyons with a rental car or not having someone to help us out if we have trouble finding things or get into trouble like we did in IceboxCanyon, which is outside Vegas, when my wife took out her ACL (with her zombie ligament, she's OK now, but her ordeal and strength getting out was amazing).
That’s just not good.
Now I’ve done some things out there before, but I’m definitely not one to pass up on petroglyphs, dinosaurs, mountains, waterfalls, archaeo-astronomy, Americana, science fiction, and long drives into the western sunset, so if that’s you, too, feel free to share your choices.
Our goals are definitely Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and the 2 places listed above. I want to see BigHorn Medicine Wheel and the wild horses at Pryor Mountain, which are very close to one another. Additionally, we want to go to Hell’s Creek, Montana, to see the dinosaur digs.

Feel free to share your hiking investigation stories. I’d love to hear them to learn and be inspired by them.

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